The Beaches resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos have been designated Advanced Certified Autism Centers (ACAC) by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Educations Standards.
The certification process included 40 hours of autism sensitivity and awareness training for resort staff as well as the addition of special services, including the option of personalized childcare with a One-on-One Beaches Buddy who is certified by the International Board of Credentialing; a Culinary Concierge program to support specific dietary needs; and procedures for private, in-room check-in.
A core focus of the staff training at the Kids Camp at each resort is on families with individuals who have special needs.
The training extends to the water sports program, where PADI-certified dive professionals and other team members have earned an ACAC designation for the Aqua Center at each Beaches, according to Adam Stewart, the deputy chairman of Sandals Resorts International.
"As a family-built brand, we want to provide all families with a superior level of service that makes them feel the most welcome at our resorts. The ACAC designation allows children on the autism spectrum to safely experience the waters of the Caribbean," Stewart said.
In September 2017, as part of its partnership with Sesame Workshop, Beaches introduced Julia, a Sesame Street Muppet on the autism spectrum who works with kids on art activities.